MS Dhoni has always been a very unorthodox skipper and there have been occasions where some of the decisions that he makes don’t make sense to everyone, but Dhoni’s unorthodox ideas almost always work for him and work in some of the most crucial games of the big tournaments.
Dhoni has made some strange decisions in the IPL as well which have raised eyebrows initially, but all those decisions turned out to be pretty effective at the end.
Here are 4 captaincy masterstrokes by MS Dhoni in the IPL –
#1 Using Shadab Jakati with the new ball in IPL 2010 final
Sachin Tendulkar was absolutely dominating the fast bowlers in IPL 2010 and was getting off to a flyer of a start in almost all the games that he was playing. Dhoni wanted to make sure that Tendulkar wasn’t able to find too many boundaries in the power-play in the final game where CSK had set a target of 160 odd against Mumbai Indians.
Tendulkar would have made a mockery of that target if he had found his timing early on, but Dhoni used the left arm spinner Shadab Jakati with the new ball and Jakati didn’t allow Tendulkar any freedom at all as he bowled the stump to stump line and managed to keep the master blaster quiet.
The pressure wasn’t released and CSK managed to chip in with a couple of wickets at the other end. Jakati eventually managed to get Tendulkar out later.
#2 Using Deepak Chahar’s full quota of overs in one spell
Generally, most of the captains use their fast bowlers in two or three different spells or even in four spells of one over each in a T20 game, but in most of the games of IPL 2018, Dhoni used Deepak Chahar in one spell only.
Dhoni’s logic was that Chahar is most dangerous with the new ball, so why not use his entire quota upfront where he is most likely to swing the ball and trouble the batsman rather than save an over or two for the death where he is not very efficient?
The tendency to use the bowlers according to their strengths was probably why Dhoni was such a tactically sound captain.
#3 Using Raina against Kohli in IPL 2011 final
After getting Chris Gayle’s wicket early in the final of IPL 2011, the next challenge for Dhoni was to get Virat Kohli out early, otherwise the current Indian captain would have taken the game away from CSK.
Dhoni, surprisingly, went to Raina despite knowing that Kohli is a wonderful player of spin. Dhoni also left the short midwicket position open for Kohli inviting him to play through the leg side and get an easy two as the deep midwicket fielder was quite a bit away.
Generally, playing through the leg side against the off spinners is easy, but it was not easy to do it against Raina because he was not turning the ball at all. He was pushing it with the angle and as Kohli tried to play against the angle, he missed the line of the ball and was trapped in front of the wickets.
#4 Positioning Matthew Hayden behind the umpire
This is a fielding position which a lot of captains now try against Kieron Pollard, but it was Dhoni who had tried it for the first time in the final of IPL 2010. Dhoni knew that Pollard hit the ball straight and hard. The conventional mid-off was not going to be of any use because pollard’s power was not going to give him any time to collect the ball.
So, Dhoni positioned Matthew Hayden almost behind the umpire and as it turned out, Pollard played the ball straight towards Hayden who made no mistake in completing the catch. Everyone was awestruck at that out of the box move of the CSK skipper.